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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer, who was a Knight of the shire for Kent and a representative to Parliament, started work on his Canterbury Tales in 1386.

In ten fragments, 17,000 lines long, Canterbury Tales was a collection of tales, written in English prose and verse told by different pilgrims (including Chaucer himself). They met at Tabard Inn, Southwark then told their stories on their way to Thomas Becket's tomb in Canterbury.

Opening prologue of The Wife of Bath's Tale from the Ellesmere Manuscript.

April 17, 1387 is thought to be the date of the start of the pilgrimage to Canterbury recounted in the work.

Geoffrey Chaucer recited the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II on April 17, 1397.

Geoffrey Chaucer died in 1400 having failed to complete his 14 year old project.  By the time of his death twenty-four tales had been told.  Chaucer had intended 31 pilgrims would tell two tales each on their way to Canterbury and another two on their way back.

Chaucer referred to a cat flap in the Millers Tale.

The first book known to have been printed by William Caxton at his Westminster press was an edition of The Canterbury Tales. Caxton produced it in 1476.

The word "canter" was entered into the English language from the pace of the horses heading for Canterbury in Chaucer’s book, called the "Canterbury gallop."

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